Hope springs eternal as Rent gets live Manchester run

Writer:

Paul Genty

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Postponed July production gets the full anti-coronavirus treatment

Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester is to present a live, socially-distanced version of musical Rent from October 30-December 6.

The show’s 12-strong cast, which will form a social “bubble” for the duration of the Manchester run, has now been announced and includes Jocasta Almgill (& JulietDreamgirls – West End); Blake Patrick Anderson (Be More Chill – The Other Place, Closer to Heaven – Off West End); Tom Francis in his professional debut; Ahmed Hamad (The Boy in the Dress – RSC, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – West End); Dom Hartley-Harris (George Washington in Hamilton – West End, Bat Out of Hell – Manchester & West End); Millie O’Connell (Olivier nominated as Anne Boleyn in SIX The Musical – West End & UK Tour; Maiya Quansah-Breed (Olivier nominated as Catherine Parr in SIX The Musical) and Alex Thomas-Smith (Dear Evan Hansen – West End, Bat Out of Hell – West End).

Directed by Luke Sheppard, Rent was due to play at the venue in July, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The theatre, in Ancoats, will be operating under strict coronavirus guidelines. This will include operating at half-capacity for each performance, with audience rows spaced two metres apart and each booking bubble separated by transparent safety screens. Audience members will be asked to wear face masks or visors and will have their temperature checked on arrival. No more than six people will be able to book as a group, and other measures will also be in place.

All customers who have already booked for the show are being contacted, and many performances are already sold out.

Hope Mill’s executive director William Whelton said: “We wouldn’t proceed with the production if we couldn’t do it in a safe and secure way for everyone involved. We are more than confident that we can deliver not only an incredible production, but one that is covid-secure and enjoyable for everyone involved.”

Rent is a rock musical loosely based on Puccini's opera La Boheme, telling the story of a group of young artists in Manhattan's East Village under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

The show has been staged all over the world and features hit songs such as RentWithout You, La Vie La Bohème and the iconic Seasons of Love.

More info here

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